Amaretto and Vanilla Panna Cotta with Toasted Almonds

 The servings for this recipe will vary depending on your particular glass and the amount it holds.  I like to use my 4-ounce champagne flutes for a couple of reasons: they don't hold a lot so I can make a lot of these desserts, at least a dozen with this recipe.  Also, I think most people don't really want a huge dessert anyway.   If I used my larger glasses, as you can see in the second shot in the post, I could only make about 8 desserts.  It just depends on what you want to do and how many guests you have.

It's important to sift the cocoa powder, to remove any little lumps.

I am using my stabilized whipped cream recipe in this post because it is useful so you can make up the desserts ahead of time and the whipped cream will remain firm.  You can opt not to do this and use just regular whipped cream or even omit the whipped cream topping completely.

for the Vanilla panna cotta:
¾ cup whole milk
2 teaspoons gelatine
2¼ cups heavy cream
1 whole vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped out
pinch of salt
¼ cup of sugar

for the Amaretto panna cotta:
¾ cup whole milk
2 teaspoons gelatine
2¼ cups heavy cream
pinch of salt
¼ cup of sugar
1 teaspoon cocoa powder, sifted
¼ cup Amaretto

topping:
1 teaspoon gelatine
4 teaspoons cold water
1 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup confectioner's sugar
2 tablespoons Amaretto
2 tablespoons chopped almonds 

make the Vanilla panna cotta:

Put the milk in a medium saucepan and sprinkle the gelatine over the milk.  Let it stand for about 5 minutes to soften.  Turn heat to medium and stir milk just until the gelatine dissolves. 

Add the cream, sugar and salt.  Whisk in the vanilla seeds and pod.  Whisk over low heat until the sugar completely dissolves, just a few minutes. 

Remove from the heat, remove the vanilla pod and let cool completely.  (I pour the mixture into a 4 or 6-cup Pyrex to cool.)  Stir mixture frequently during cooling to prevent skin from forming.

Pour mixture into your glasses, just halfway up.  A little funnel makes this easier, if you are using narrow glasses. Place on a tray or rimmed baking pan and place in the refrigerator to completely set.

make the Amaretto panna cotta:

Put the milk in a medium saucepan and sprinkle the gelatine over the milk.  Let it stand for about 5 minutes to soften.  Turn heat to medium and stir milk just until the gelatine dissolves. 

Add the cream, sugar and salt.  Whisk in the cocoa powder.  Whisk over low heat until the sugar completely dissolves, just a few minutes. 

Remove from the heat, stir in the Amaretto and let cool completely.  (I pour the mixture into a 4 or 6-cup Pyrex to cool.)  Stir mixture frequently during cooling to prevent skin from forming.

After the Vanilla panna cottas have completely set (it won't take long if you use small glasses, usually less than an hour), remove from the fridge and pour the Amaretto mixture on top.  Return to fridge to completely set.

make the topping:

In a small pan, combine gelatine and cold water; let stand until thick.  Place over low heat, stirring constantly, just until the gelatine dissolves.  Remove from heat; cool (do not allow it to set).  Whip the cream with the confectioner's sugar, until slightly thick. While slowly beating, add the gelatine to whipping cream. Add the amaretto and whip at high speed until stiff. 

In a dry small fry pan over medium high heat, toast the almonds for a few minutes just until golden and fragrant. Cool. 

Pipe the whipped cream on top of the panna cotta after it has completely set and garnish with the toasted almonds.

These panna cotta desserts last for a few days in the refrigerator. 

The Italian Dish
theitaliandishblog.com